Worst Celebrity Stalkers Creep Back into Headlines
By Sam Brand Posted Apr 5th 2010 03:45PM
Erin Andrews has (again) found herself the victim of a misguided fan's advances, while Ivanka Trump has made a new all too friendly acquaintance and Jennifer Garner just sent a creeper to the slammer.
Celebrity stalkers have been around since movie stars first hit it big in the '20s, and they've popped up regularly in headlines and in A-lister's backyards ever since.
Here are the 10 worst celebrity stalkers ever.
Mark David Chapman (Pictured Above) – John Lennon
The Beatles were Mark David Chapman's favorite band, and 'Catcher in the Rye' was the clinically depressed man's favorite book. After Lennon signed a copy of his new album, 'Double Fantasy,' for Chapman outside The Dakota in Manhattan, Chapman nearly walked away that fateful day (December 8, 1980). "At that point, my big part won, and I wanted to go back to my hotel," Chapman said. "But I waited until he came back." Five hours later, he shot five bullets into Lennon's back, killing the beloved star.
Diana Napolis – Steven Spielberg & Jennifer Love Hewitt
Diana Napolis first got into a shoving match with Jennifer Love Hewitt's mom outside a San Diego radio station in 2002. She believed Hewitt, Steven Spielberg and other prominent Hollywood figures were part of a powerful satanic cult bent on controlling the minds of America's youth. In defense of accusations of harassment by Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Napolis alleged that the couple had implanted a microchip (a "soul catcher") into her brain. The judge didn't budge on the claim. In 2003, Napolis was put on psychiatric medication and ordered to stay away from the stars for 10 years.
Dante Michael Soiu - Gwyneth Paltrow
Dante Michael Soiu, a disturbed 51-year-old pizza delivery man, showed up at the home of Gwyneth Paltrow's parents four times in 2000. They hadn't ordered any pizza. Soiu had also sent Paltrow flowers, candy and hundreds of letters of disturbing adoration, convincing the beautiful star that one day he would try to hurt her. Paltrow recalled the situation through tears during Soiu's trial later that year, during which he was found clinically insane and hospitalized.
Dawnette Knight (right) – Catherine Zeta-Jones
The aspiring 32-year-old child psychologist had a thing for Michael Douglas. In 2003 and 2004, Dawnette Knight sent harrowing letters to the actor threatening to murder his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
"We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs," one letter said.
The famous actress took to the witness stand in 2005, claiming the letters sent her to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Knight pleaded guilty and was ordered to spend three years in jail. No insanity here, just plain sickness.
Margaret Mary Ray – David Letterman
Margaret Mary Ray was arrested in 1988 for joyriding with her 3-year-old son in David Letterman's stolen Porsche. It was the first of eight arrests on trespassing and similar charges levied against the schizophrenic mom, one of which occurred after Letterman found Ray asleep on his Connecticut tennis court. The stalker was sentenced to 10 months in prison for harassing the late night host. In the mid '90s, astronaut Story Musgrave became the object of Ray's affection. And in 1998, she committed suicide by kneeling in front of an oncoming train in Colorado.
John Hinckley – Jodie Foster & Ronald Regan
John Hinckley Jr. watched 'Taxi Driver' on a continuous loop and moved to New Haven, Connecticut, when young star Jodie Foster enrolled at Yale. At the time, he slipped poems under her door in an effort to gain her affection. Note to creepers: It didn't work. And neither did firing six shots at Ronald Reagan when he left a D.C. conference in 1981, paralyzing press secretary James Brady and wounding the president and two others in his entourage. Flowers might have been a better idea.
Jack Jordan – Uma Thurman
If Uma really was a 'Super Ex Girlfriend,' she probably wouldn't worry much about the man that stormed her trailer while filming the flick, carrying a card claiming, "My hands should be on your body at all times." She probably would have torn his head off right on the spot (as he threatened to do to her in a stick-figure drawing mailed to her home). In 2008, Jordan was diagnosed with schizophrenia and sentenced to three years' probation.
William Lepeska – Anna Kournikova
William Lepeska, a 40-year-old drifter, was found panting and naked on the pool deck of a Miami Beach estate he thought belonged to tennis star Anna Kournikova. He had swam the entire length of Biscayne Bay, but arrived at the wrong house. Police arrested him on the spot as he shouted, "Anna! Save me!" Lepeska, who sent countless letters to Kournikova and has "Anna" tattooed across his arm, was ordered mentally unfit to stand trial and ordered to stay 1,000 feet away from the tennis star.
Rev. David Ajemian (at left) – Conan O'Brien
David Ajemian is a good guy who just needs a bit of help -- so said his mentor in the Catholic Church (and pretty much anyone who takes the defense of a too-friendly celebrity fan). Ajemian, who suffers from bipolar disorder, claimed to have grown up with Conan O'Brien, even though the former late night host doesn't remember him.
Ajemian followed O'Brien to Italy and California and sent him several threatening letters over a 14-month span. In November 2007, he was arrested while waiting in line to watch a live taping of Conan's show. Ajemian is currently a free man, but is no longer authorized to act as a priest.
Zack Sinclair – Mel Gibson
Zack Sinclair, a 34-year-old homeless man, believed he was on a "mission from God" when he showed up at Mel Gibson's Malibu home in 2004. He just wanted to pray with the man behind his favorite movie, 'Passion of the Christ.' Problem is, Sinclair was already under a restraining order from the star. Less than a year earlier, Sinclair had sent numerous letters to Gibson demanding he join him in prayer, and he even showed up uninvited at Gibson's church. Sinclair represented himself at his trial in 2005, refusing to mount a defense. The "burden of proof is going to be to heaven," he said. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
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